FOLKSWORTH & WASHINGLEY PARISH COUNCIL
ANNUAL REPORT 2020-21
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this has been a strange year, but the Parish Council has continued to meet on a monthly basis. The world of Zoom meetings has taken over in the last year which has ensured that both the Parish Council and Planning meetings have been able to continue to allow parish council business to be carried out. It is interesting how quickly we have adapted to this way of communication, though we are looking to commence face to face meetings from June, which will be a welcome return to some form of normality.
Most of the agenda items have been routine, to discuss the maintenance of the village and ensure repairs are carried out as required. My fellow Councillors have continued to conduct many activities over the course of the year to ensure village facilities and amenities are available for use and improved for parishioners. I extend my thanks for them for all the continue to do for the Parish.
Most planning issues have been non-contentious, the Parish Council has met to discuss these and fed in comments over the course of the year regarding these.
I would also like to thank our Clerk Jackie Stanbridge, Jackie has ensured the running of the Parish Council during a very difficult period in a professional and efficient manner, on top off issues raised with the pandemic. May I take this opportunity to thank her.
2020/2021 has certainly been a year where web-based communication has become more vital than ever with all Parish Council meetings being held over Zoom during the pandemic. Also, we have found that more and more parishioners have used Facebook to contact us, to ask for help, offer help to others and to let us know of fly-tipping, any village issues and sadly too often, of damage to the play area. This more immediate way of communicating has allowed us to act swiftly.
We are more than aware that not everyone uses the internet, therefore important information goes into SCAN and on to notice boards, but also on our New UPDATED website, which looks fantastic and onto our Parish Council Facebook page which also gets shared to the village Facebook group and currently has 572 people following it, most are from the village or close by.
A new contract was agreed with RJC to continue to provide the village maintenance including the grass cutting around the village and at the play area
Two Parish walks were undertaken in October 2020 and March 2021 to identify maintenance issues and report these to the various authorities. Potholes were particularly bad after the winter, but progress has been made by CCC to rectify these.
The footpaths and bridleways have had heavy usage since the beginning of lockdown for Covid. It has been lovely to see them being well used but it has brought some issues eg walkers straying off the paths, litter, dog poo etc. The Parish Council, along with members of the public has reported problems on the path eg broken bridges to CCC. The Parish Council has liaised with Paul Castle at Ulmus to improve the signage through the farm. Hopefully, walkers are now finding it easier to find their way. A few maps have been produced by the PC and placed on the website to encourage people to stick to the paths.
Due to Covid an organized litter pick was cancelled in 2020, but there seemed to be an increase in litter around the Parish. Several members of the public have taken the initiative and undertaken litter picking in the area, for which the Parish Council is very grateful. The PC has helped with this by providing litter pickers and bags as required.
To further enhance the village members of the Parish Council have undertaken various voluntary maintenance jobs over the year, repainting the bus shelter, and clearing the path along Folksworth Road – which has been very much appreciated by those who walk the Stilton loop regularly. The PC has now joined a volunteer scheme organized by CCC to undertake more voluntary work around the Parish. The PC hopes that members of the parish will join in to continue to make this parish a lovely place in which to live
The Play equipment had its annual inspection in 2020 and the 2021 inspection has just been completed. For periods due to lockdown the play and gym equipment has not always been available for use over the year. When it has been available, however, it has been well used, often attracting people from out of the parish. It has been fantastic to see this but again this has caused some issues. There has been some vandalism, more litter at times than our bin can cope with, some general wear and tear of equipment and parking problems. The PC has undertaken some repairs highlighted by the ROSPA report and to repair vandalism and tried to keep on top of the litter as much as possible.
The Parish Council has commented on 4 planning applications during the year
Some of our plans for the year ahead
Continue with current village maintenance
Review the play equipment and look to replace as and when funds allow
Undertake an organized litter pick to coincide with the National Litter pick week
Continue to develop the community orchard.
Start planning for the Jubilee in 2022
Protecting the Environment and Helping to Make Our Parish a Good Place to Live
In all its actions, the Parish Council prioritises the environmental impacts of its decisions and activities with the protection of our wide variety of beautiful flora and fauna in the orchard, verges and footpaths as a major consideration.
It has been lovely to observe residents growing native plants such as lesser celandines, dog violets alongside their garden plants providing a valuable source of nectar for our bees and other pollinators.
Appreciating and being aware of what we have here in our community is a vital part of this work and an area that could be developed in the future through art projects, nature talks and further public involvement.
In the absence this year and last of communal litter picks due to Covid restrictions, many local people have worked hard individually to keep the streets, play park and public footpaths clear of litter. A huge thank you goes out to each and every one and to people who take their litter home in the first place!
Councillors remain active themselves in removing litter and cutting back overgrown brambles and foliage on footpaths.
The PC acted quickly to contact HDC to ensure dangerous fly-tipping was removed once alerted by a member of the public: children had been using the dumped asbestos roof to build a den.
The HDC employee who empties our public bins weekly has been directed to remove some further large items. More needs to be done about the fly-tipping in the woodland belonging to HDC both to discourage dumping and clearing up.
Trees that need removal or cutting back here, as elsewhere in the parish, are constantly signposted to HDC (as are potholes, damaged signage and blocked roadside drains to CCC.)
The PC is planning to join national initiatives to plant more trees in appropriate places such as the play park meadow and actively encourages residents to do the same in their gardens.
It is not only trees that contribute to combatting climate change, small plants have their role to play too.
As well as the extensive work in the orchard, the PC has, with the support of generous local gardeners’ donations, planted hundreds of snowdrops in the green around the village. These should multiply and naturalise to put on a show next February – and every February – around the village cheering us up at the bleakest time of the year. They too provide an important early source of nectar for queen bumble bees and other pollinators emerging from hibernation.
All these measures contribute to the village being increasingly regarded as a highly desirable place to live.
Village history is still ongoing, and a number of fascinating stories and images have been discovered. Despite the anticipated WW2 exhibition following on from the extremely well-attended WW1 one in October 2018 having been cancelled, the PC hope that further events of a similar nature will come about.
Meanwhile, discoveries and accounts of oral history have been shared on Facebook and Folklore, now published as part of Scan. Public contributions – whether facts or photos- arising from these are extremely valuable.
Heritage activities give our community a sense of place and identity and celebrate the memories of our senior residents and our historical roots.
The results of the 1921 census will be published next year no doubt offering further exciting discoveries about our community a century ago.
Council commenced the year in lockdown and the Parish council moved its meetings online. The 2020 Annual Parish Meeting was cancelled as per guidance. This year, in accordance with local government guidance, both the Annual Parish Meeting and the Annual General Meeting will be held remotely. Face to face Council meetings will resume in the Village Hall from June.
We have continued to have support from our District and County Councillors.
This is the final year of the current term of Council with all seats up for Election in May 2022.
Synopsis of Accounts 2020-21
Staff costs for the year were £6076 and running costs for items such as insurance, subscriptions, play inspections, audit, office expenses, communications etc totalled just under £5000.00. Loan repayments for the PWLB Loan taken out to assist the Village Hall Committee with its refurbishment amounted to just over £2600.00
Parish Maintenance amounted to just over £7000 and more than £1500 was spent on repairs to the play equipment as a result of vandalism. Section 137 and Community Grants totalled £2500.00. Small grants via the Section 137 fund and larger more specific grants are available to residents and village organisations every year. Application forms can be found on the website and must be received by October 31 in any year to be considered at Council’s November budget meeting.
Council is building long-term funds for the replacement of items such as play equipment, noticeboards, rubbish bins and benches.
The Precept for this financial year has remained the same at £35,076 The budget for the new Financial Year is £34,950 which includes a contingency of £2500.00 Council again received a clear internal and external audit and was commended on its forward planning. Council’s reserve remains at £12,132.00.
Clerk to the Council/RFO
PARISH COUNCILLORS 2018-2022
Alison Brown Patrick Clarke
37 Manor Road 16 Townsend Way
Folksworth PE7 3SU PE7 3TU
01733 240501 01733 241860
Gordon Fenwick Judith Ford
3 Bullock Road 10 Chervil Close
Washingley Folksworth PE7 3SZ
PE7 3SH 01733 240440
Lisa Blackman(Vice Chairman) Steve Chapman
Manor Farm 5 Chervil Close
Fen Lane Folksworth PE7 3SZ
Stilton PE7 3SA 01733 545407
Mark Randall( Chairman) Yasmin Rogers
4 Castel Way contact via the Clerk
Folksworth PE7 3TX
15 Elm Road,
Folksworth, PE7 3SX